Kratom Symposium Recap: World’s Leading Experts Explored Kratom Breakthroughs and Barriers

Science, policy, processor responsibility and consumer protection lead topics; Leaf Kratom Coalition urges future participation and research

(EZ Newswire)

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Led by top thought leaders and researchers from around the world, stakeholders gathered in Orlando, February 14–16, 2024, for the 3rd Kratom Symposium to discuss breakthroughs in kratom science and the barriers preventing further progress. The three-day event provided a platform for more than 15 speakers to share scientific research, discuss policy considerations, and emphasize the importance of responsible consumer protection efforts in the evolving landscape of kratom science and regulation.

The conference focused on the natural herbal substance kratom. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tropical evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, where its leaves have long been used as a mood booster and energy enhancer. Despite being used traditionally in leaf form for centuries, kratom's regulatory status and safety are debated in countries around the world, including the U.S., where it is available in various forms, such as ground leaf, extracts, concentrates and isolates.

The Kratom Symposium aimed to build a more comprehensive understanding in the scientific community and encourage evidence-based decision-making within industry and regulators alike.

Science. Research presented at the event covered kratom's potential therapeutic benefits, including its role in endurance and productivity enhancement. Researchers also described kratom's abuse potential, adverse cognitive effects, and its impact on public health, particularly regarding its interactions with other substances and the extent of possible dangerous habit-forming potential. Presenters expressed a need for further scientific research, standardization of kratom products, better consumer education, and the importance of understanding kratom's pharmacology, safety profile, and potential benefits in clinical trials.

Policy. Policy discussions surrounding kratom focused on country-by-country guidelines and restrictions. Experts also discussed its regulatory status in the U.S. and the need for balanced approaches that ensure consumer safety while preserving access. Experts pointed to the need for comprehensive regulations governing the various forms of kratom sales and distribution, highlighting the importance of monitoring and promoting responsible marketing practices. Experts also described the potential impact of kratom on public health, including its use for endurance and productivity enhancement. Overall, stakeholders emphasized the need for evidence-based policymaking, collaborative efforts between researchers, regulators, and industry stakeholders, and further research to inform decision-making regarding kratom's legal status and regulation on two main fronts:

Processor responsibility. Researchers made it clear that ‘not all kratom is equal’, and as such, manufacturers of kratom extracts should maintain product consistency in line with the composition of native leaf material, minimize contamination risks, and ensure accurate labeling of kratom products in order to enhance consumer confidence and safety. Participants also discussed the need for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to meet industry standards and regulatory requirements.

Consumer protection. Speakers described the need for clear information about potential risks and benefits and providing access to credible, evidence-based resources for consumers to make informed decisions. Symposium discussions highlighted the importance of implementing regulations, such as the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, to establish quality control standards, product testing requirements, and labeling guidelines to protect consumers from adulterated or mislabeled kratom products. Stakeholders emphasized the need for consumer education initiatives to raise awareness about safe kratom use practices, potential interactions with other substances, and the importance of consulting healthcare professionals before using kratom.

"As kratom grows in popularity around the world, so does scrutiny," said conference organizer Christopher R. McCurdy, PhD, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, University of Florida. "Kratom holds promise in many areas, such as a potential replacement therapy for opioids, and may offer novel avenues for pain management, but comprehensive research is imperative to elucidate its efficacy, safety, and potential risks."

The active compounds found in leaf kratom are called alkaloids. Mitragynine, an indole alkaloid, is the most abundant psychoactive compound. Some of the minor alkaloids are speciociliatine, speciogynine, and paynantheine, among others. These alkaloids interact with receptors in the brain, influencing mood and energy levels. However, Leaf Kratom’s mechanism of action is complex and not fully understood.

In the U.S., kratom is gaining in consumer awareness and acceptance, with an estimated 15 million consumers. Kratom is consumed in various forms, such as leaf powders, extracts, concentrates, and isolates. It is often categorized as an herbal supplement, though its classification varies by region and country.

"The Leaf Kratom Coalition firmly believes that conducting thorough research on all forms of kratom is essential to ensure the well-being of consumers and to provide them with accurate information about its potential benefits and risks, ultimately enhancing the safety and integrity of kratom products available to consumers," said Matthew Lowe, Executive Director of the Leaf Kratom Coalition. "This and future Kratom Symposiums will aid in exchanging knowledge, discussing best practices, and collaboration on the way to a safe and regulated kratom market."

About the Leaf Kratom Coalition 

The Leaf Kratom Coalition (LKC) exists to protect and expand access to leaf-based kratom around the world. The organization represents the interests of advocates committed to positive change benefiting consumers. The organization supports education, and the development of kratom science which is central to the LKC’s mission – to empower individuals worldwide with access to safe and responsibly sourced kratom products by advancing scientific research and sensible regulation.

The LKC operates on five key values:

  • Access: The belief that individuals should have a choice as to how they look after their health, informed by the latest unbiased information available.
  • Education: Providing accurate, evidence-based information about kratom (including on our website), allowing consumers to make informed decisions.
  • Advocacy: Serving as a united voice for kratom consumers worldwide, seeking fair and sensible regulations that prioritize consumer safety, freedom of information, and good sourcing and manufacturing practices.
  • Community: Fostering a global group of enthusiasts, experts, vendors, and advocates to promote the benefits of kratom and fight for informed and responsible use.
  • Responsibility: Promoting the responsible use of kratom and encouraging vendors to adhere to strict quality and safety standards so that consumers have access to products that are safe, well-manufactured, and appropriately labeled.


SOURCE: Global Kratom Coalition

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